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10 Tips for Better Sleep

Getting a full night’s sleep is as important to good health as maintaining a proper diet and getting enough exercise. Yet a third of Americans get less than 6 ½ hours of sleep each night – much less the recommended 7-8 hours.

Lack of sleep is associated with an inflammation causing increase of cytokine molecules. Long term insomnia leads to chronic inflammation.  This significantly increases the risk of hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

Scary health consequences aside, we simply feel better after we get a good night’s rest.  So here are 10 tips you can use right away to improve your odds of getting to sleep faster and staying asleep longer.

  1. Avoid caffeine late in the day.  Caffeine affects your body up to 8 hours, so switch to decaf or herbal teas after lunch. Watch out for caffeinated drinks like sodas and hot chocolate too.
  2. Exercise earlier – at least 45 minutes to an hour before bedtime.  Exercise is important and will help you obtain a more restful sleep, but your body needs time to wind down.
  3. Avoid drinking before bedtime. Give your body at least an hour to eliminate excess fluids.  Otherwise you’re more likely to wake for a midnight bathroom run to empty your bladder.
  4. Stick to a schedule so your body can get into a routine. Keep the same bedtime and waking routine even on non-work days for improved sleep quality.
  5. Skip long naps as they can throw off your sleep cycle. Power naps of 15-20 minutes are better.
  6. Find your best sleep position. Back sleep is recommended as the most stable position for the spine. Placing a pillow under your legs can reduce lower back stress. If you prefer sleeping on your side, try placing a pillow between your legs for better hip support and comfort.  Experiment to find what helps you get the best night’s sleep without waking up sore.
  7. Use the right size and number of pillows. Your head and neck should maintain a roughly straight line while you sleep. Your head should not be propped up or tilted down at an angle.
  8. Dress (or undress) for comfort so heat or cold won’t keep you awake or prevent you from sleeping through the night.
  9. Keep your room dark. Turn off the lights, close the curtains, even cover electronic lights if you have to.  If you must use a TV or radio to fall asleep, use the sleep timer.
  10. Eat a “sleepy snack” such as turkey, yogurt, ice cream, or peanuts.  These all have high levels of tryptophan which helps your body produce serotonin and relax for sleep — but eat them an hour before bed.

Bonus sleep tip!
When all else fails, many will try sleeping pills which can lead to drug dependence. Try using a safer and non-habit forming herbal sleep aid instead which won’t leave you feeling drugged out in the morning.

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13 Comments

  1. upkar singh
    Posted September 25, 2009 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    yeah i have been suffering from back pain since 2000 nd till then it continues
    tell me what i do,even i have consulted almost doctors nd hospitals ,they all adviced me to take pain killer or so many unusefull adviced
    tell me again what i do
    upkar singh

  2. David
    Posted October 5, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m massage Therapy here south Florida most are client’s desperate to pain reliever and doctors.Please read the label that it’s promised is only relief not healing and the doctors is health practice-tioner mean just practice.

    Why you not try the Ancient Therapeutic Massage called (Hilot) find a therapy can help you?

    Special Healing Touch

  3. Paul Turnbull
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I think this is a far better layout. It is easy to scroll down and find what you are looking for.

  4. Simi Alamba
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I am 27yrs old and I’v been having back pain about 2yrs now,especially a sharp pain on my left pelvic. i fnd it very difficult to bend or stretch up. the pain is getting unbearable. pls, what do I do? I can’t get some of your recommended suppliments here in Nigeria. pls help me.

  5. Philip Landwehr
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    My Hydrochlorathiazide, 25mg. keeps me up 2-3 times per night. For blood pressure Doctors order. Is there something else that I could ask for? I am taking: Amlodopine, Lisinipril, Hydrochlorothiazide,Terazosin.

  6. grace young
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    I am 51yrs old. However I look 10 yrs younger. I have joint pains at times. I have followed your advice about sodas which make ones body acidic. I have reduced my caffiene load. I use to drink pepsi three times per day, but i have stopped. I also have a sleeping problem. everytime i dose off i dream. what do you think? I get up three to four times in the night either to urinate or bad dreams. I am a family nurse practitioneer.

  7. grace young
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    My mother is 86 and she has stenosis of the spine hence she has problem walking . How can i reduce her pain

  8. Mike Letendre
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    These have helped me muchly. But because of my specific condidition total relief may take laser surgery to totaly aleviate pain.
    1. Try one tsp. aple cider vinegar 3 times ea day 6 to 8 hrs apart.
    2. get to an inversion table and use it every day try a little at a time a steeper incline could be
    painful at first gradualy increase incline as comfort increases and pain decreases.
    3.use pillows to make aprox. 20 to 30 degree incline for sleep add a pillow under your legs for additional comfort. Those bad guys stabbing and twisting those rods in your back when you sleep will go away and the nightmares will end.”Almost imediately”

  9. Ramesh Pai
    Posted January 24, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I want to know more about inversion table for back pain relief

  10. sunil patil
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    i need more tips on sleeping not able to sleep for 8hrs

  11. Admin
    Posted January 29, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Hi to all who are asking for further information help and advice including Ramesh,upkar,grace and sunil,

    If you would like to, please submit your query to the Helpdesk using the following link where personal questions are answered.

    http://losethebackpain.supportworksonline.com/client/index.php?cmd=submitticket

    They will then be able to address your specific questions and discuss any more personal information, with more privacy than is available on a public blog.

    Thank you.

  12. Mel Cross
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Hi There,
    The past several months I have been experiencing dull and sometimes shooting pain in the front upper part of both legs. It seems like the nerve ends are right on the surface, making the area very sensitive to the touch. Thinking that it might be Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) I have checked several medical web pages and it does seem to follow the symptoms of RLS. The web pages indicate that the cause and cures for RLS are unknown.
    I have purchased your Inversion Table and also the Trigger Point Board, but just recently received them and haven’t had a chance to use them yet.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank You.
    Mel Cross

  13. Admin
    Posted June 25, 2010 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Mel,

    Thank you for your query. While they do read and monitor this blog, if you would like more personal advice from them, you would be best asking your question to them using the link to the helpdesk below. This is where personal questions are answered with more privacy than is available here.

    http://losethebackpain.supportworksonline.com/client/index.php?cmd=submitticket

    Thank you

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